Thursday, June 22, 2006

Myrick's Flip Flop on Illegal Immigration

Back in November 2005 I wrote a post about Sue Myrick and her lack of consistency when it has come to the illegal immigration issue. Titled, A Contradiction Named Sue, it pointed out Myrick's early years of voting to increase the spread and flow of illegal immigrants in this country. Today, The Charlotte Observer has this story about Sue Myrick and her lack of consistency when it comes to the illegal immigration issue.

Gee, guys. A little late to the party, no? Now, to be fair, the article is much more in-depth than mine and the reporters did get some interviews that I'm not sure I would have been granted, but they basically said the same thing I did. All in all, they did a pretty good job putting the story together. They also reported Myrick's responses to their questions in enough detail that they can be fact-checked. This should be a fun way to spend my day.

If you don't want to read either the stories attached to either link I'll give you the short version. Sue Myrick spent the first ten years of her tenure in Congress voting on measures that inflated the numbers of illegal immigrants and has spent the past year or two trying to undo what she had done. Is it political or a sincere shift in her beliefs? Here's a bit from the article.

U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick has made getting tough on illegal immigration her signature issue in recent years. But in the 1990s, the Charlotte Republican cast several votes that were lambasted by the same immigration reform groups that now count her as an ally.

These conservative groups, such as Americans for Better Immigration and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, praise Myrick's stands today, even giving her an A+ in one recent report card. At the same time, they say some of her votes 10 years ago helped create the problem of an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

That's not how Myrick sees it: She says she was actually ahead of many lawmakers in Washington in recognizing the looming importance of the immigration issue. In 1999, for example, she created a community-wide task force and launched her ongoing pursuit of a federal immigration court for Charlotte so N.C. cases wouldn't have to be heard in faraway Atlanta.

The problem then, Myrick said, is that she couldn't get many others to share her concern.

"There weren't enough members of Congress who had (illegal immigration) problems in their districts. There was not yet critical mass," she said. "Back then, North Carolina wasn't impacted -- though Charlotte was."

Now, I still don't see how Myrick justifies voting to increase spread for 10 years unless she was intentionally trying to inflate the numbers to bring more attention to the problems faced by Charlotte. She finds a justification for every vote. Here are a few samples.

What does Myrick say?

That the technology in 1996 was not as advanced as it is today. To vote for the pilot program or to make relying on faulty government databases a must, she said, could have kept U.S. citizens from getting hired.

"They had a messed-up system," said Myrick. "I couldn't see where it would work." Back then, she said, businesses had to call a toll-free number and depend on Social Security Administration workers to tap into databases that contained inaccuracies and outdated information.

Myrick said the technology today is more reliable, with businesses able to access databases through a faster, Internet-based system. It also relieves employers of cost burdens imposed by the 1996 version, she said.

"Employers are saying to me now: I want to follow the law and I don't want to make a mistake," said Myrick, who would still prefer to not make use of the database mandatory.

Even in 2006, though, some business groups -- such as the National Restaurant Association -- are still saying they can't rely on government databases. And immigration reform groups don't agree with Myrick's picture of the past. Americans for Better Immigration described Myrick as part of a "coalition of pro-business Republicans and liberal civil libertarians" who tried to kill the 1996 program. ABI's Web site dossier on Myrick synopsizes the vote, adorned with a red-and-black moving icon that says "HELP ILLEGALS" and shows a silhouetted man successfully scaling a fence.

Actually, they did a much better job than I did. It's a good article and it looks like they provide enough dots that the reasonable person is going to see that Sue is contradicting her first decade in Congress.

Here's my problem with Sue. Why not just admit that the problems weren't as wide spread as they are today and now she wants to be a part of the solution? Why all the lame justifications for previous votes. Why not just come out and say, "My earlier votes had an unintentional adverse effect on illegal immigration and made me part of the problem. Now it's time to be part of the solution." Wouldn't that be refreshing for someone to just stand up and accept responsibility for their actions? I guess that's asking to much. Sue Myrick is a Republican and accepting responsibility isn't part of their party platform.


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